Most of the free line speed upgrades implemented by South African fibre network operators are set to come to an end in the next two weeks.
Back in March, various operators announced they would temporarily increase line speeds to customers at no charge as South Africa entered the initial COVID-19 lockdown.
These line speed upgrades were performed in order to help alleviate strain on networks as people spent more time using the Internet for working and staying entertained while confined to their homes.
Initially, Frogfoot, Link Africa, and Vumatel announced they would double, or more than double, the speeds on packages from participating ISPs from the end of March and beginning of April.
MetroFibre also provided all direct customers, its ISPs, and resellers with a top-up of 10Mbps per customer on top of their existing capacity.
Openserve joined in one month later and started doubling line speeds for all its customers except those on the 100Mbps and 200Mbps packages from May.
It also increased speeds for all ADSL customers on its 1Mbps, 2Mbps, 4Mbps, and 8Mbps products to 10Mbps.
Several other network operators – including DFA, Evotel, and SADV – also doubled speeds or upgraded customers to the next higher package on certain ISPs on their networks.
In their initial announcements, most of the operators said they would implement the speed upgrades for periods ranging between two and three months.
However, following extensions of the lockdown, multiple operators also extended their free speed increase periods.
While Vumatel originally said it would end the free speed increases by the end of May, it extended this by two months to 31 July 2020.
Likewise, Frogfoot first said its upgrades would be in effect until the end of June, but later announced it would keep the free double-ups in place for the foreseeable future.
The operator will re-evaluate this policy on a monthly basis.
MyBroadband recently asked the FNOs to confirm the final dates on which these line speeds would be returned to normal.
Link Africa said its speed increases would be terminated on Friday 17 July, but that it was considering a similar promotion for August, due to increased demand.
“During the course of the promotion, we noticed a spike in the number of upgrade requests, particularly on the lower bandwidths. We anticipate that there will be a sustained demand for higher bandwidths, particularly the 50Mbps and 100Mbps services,” the operator said.
MetroFibre said it had not decided whether it would extend the speed increases further or end the promotion on 31 July as originally communicated.
“Many people have returned to work and to school, however, we are investigating whether there is a need for this to continue,” MetroFibre said.
Frogfoot told MyBroadband it would be continuing with the speed increases until the State of Disaster is lifted. It will give customers 30-day notice before ending its speed double up campaign.
Vumatel did not provide comment by the time of publication.
One of the ISPs who had chosen to pass the upgrades onto its customers – Cool Ideas – has provided updates on the latest dates for termination of the speed increases on the Promotions page of its website.
Below are the last days on which the free speed increases were or will be implemented on each network, as noted by Cool Ideas.
|Fibre network operator||Last day of free speed increase|
|DFA||31 May 2020|
|Evotel||31 July 2020|
|Link Africa||17 July 2020|
|MetroFibre||31 July 2020|
|Openserve||31 July 2020|
|SADV||31 May 2020|
|Vumatel||31 July 2020|